Skip to main content

Duchamp Research Portal

A major figure of modernity, whose unequalled influence in the 20th century endures today, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) shook up the traditional categories of art and triggered an upheaval of the modern artistic paradigm. The inventor of readymade, Marcel Duchamp was equally an expert in the art of breathing and a professional chess player. Between 1910 and 1968, the ‘engineer of lost time’ produced a body of work intrinsically linked to his life. 


Launched in April 2020, a digital portal devoted to this major figure of modern art provides researchers with access to an exceptionally rich ensemble of archives, for the first time.

Echoing the ‘trans-Atlantic’ life of the artist, the Duchamp Research Portal is the fruit of a unique partnership between French and American institutions. Three entities with emblematic and complementary collections of Duchamp’s work, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Association Marcel Duchamp and the Centre Georges Pompidou, thus worked alongside each other for four years to provide access to their resources. 


This pioneering platform provides free access to some 60,000 archives, photographs and documents around the work, life, social, family and professional networks of Marcel Duchamp, in addition to his immense artistic and conceptual legacy. Accessible via a centralised interface, the Duchamp Research Portal is designed to be a pilot art history research tool dedicated to the works, exhibitions, figures and movements of the avant-garde explored by Duchamp (Dada, Surrealism, Concrete Art, etc.).  


Among the wealth of resources available via the Duchamp Research Portal feature the highly significant Alexina & Marcel Duchamp Papers from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the archives of the Association Marcel Duchamp; the André Breton and Wassili Kandinsky resources of the Centre Pompidou; resources on the major retrospectives in Philadelphia (1976) or the Centre Pompidou (1977), and resources linked to the genesis and secret installation of Duchamp’s last major work, Etant Donnés 1° La Chute d’eau, 2° Le gaz d’éclairage (1946-1966), owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The works by Marcel Duchamp held by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Musée National d’Art Moderne (MNAM-CCI) at the Centre Pompidou amount to more than five hundred items. The possibility of cross-referencing various settings for each work data sheet, archive and document (which includes a wealth of secondary literature) gives rise to an abundant architecture. 


Destined to become an unparalleled tool for research around Duchamp, the Duchamp Research Portal offers both specialists and the general public with exceptional access to the work of the ‘the 20th century’s most intelligent man’ (André Breton) and provides a unique insight into the history of numerous avant-gardists.